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Graham v. E-COM Dispatch Ctr.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

December 9, 2014

STEFANIE GRAHAM, Plaintiff,
v.
E-COM DISPATCH CENTER and, TEAMSTERS LOCAL UNION 700, Defendants

For Stehanie Graham, Plaintiff: Michael J. Moore, LEAD ATTORNEY, Chicago, IL.

For Econ Inc., Defendant: Stephen H. DiNolfo, LEAD ATTORNEY, Vladimir Shuliga, Ottosen Britz Kelly Cooper Gilbert & Dinolfo, Ltd., Naperville, IL.

For Teamsters Local Union 700, Defendant: Sherrie E. Voyles, LEAD ATTORNEY, Taylor Elvidge Muzzy, Jacobs, Burns, Orlove & Hernandez, Chicago, IL.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Robert M. Dow, Jr., United States District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendants' motions to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint [25, 27]. Plaintiff alleges race discrimination against her former employer and a union under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq . For the reasons that follow, the Court grants both motions to dismiss.

I. Factual Background[1]

Plaintiff Stefanie Graham was employed by Defendant E-COM Dispatch Center (" E-COM") and was affiliated with Defendant Teamsters Local Union 700 (" Local 700"). She was terminated from her employment on February 26, 2013. Plaintiff filed a seven-paragraph complaint that alleges three incidents involving her supervisor, Ms. Chiapano, prior to Plaintiff's termination.

First, on March 7, 2011, Ms. Chiapano gave Plaintiff a notice of insubordination; the notice was rescinded four days later. Second, on August 11, 2012, Plaintiff was suspended by Ms. Chiapano without cause after Plaintiff was temporarily absent from work for a surgery. Finally, on February 18, 2013, Ms. Chiapano told Plaintiff to remove her tee-shirt because Ms. Chiapano found it " offensive." Plaintiff's tee-shirt read " black girls rock." About a week later, Plaintiff was terminated, supposedly, because she wore ear phones on the job and failed to follow orders. E-COM informed Plaintiff's union representative at Local 700 of the disciplinary action without Plaintiff's knowledge. Local 700 failed to contact Plaintiff about her termination, allegedly in violation of an unspecified duty owed to Plaintiff.

As to Defendant E-COM, Plaintiff avers that she was " the victim of disparate treatment * * * of workplace harassment, of humiliation, [ ] workplace embarrassment and * * * of intentional infliction of emotional distress." Compl. 2, ¶ 3. Plaintiff seeks $100, 000 as well as her lost wages since being terminated. Id. at ¶ 4. As to Defendant Local 700, Plaintiff seeks $50, 000 for " lack of union representation." Id. at 3, ¶ 3.

II. Legal Standard

Defendants have moved to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The purpose of a motion to dismiss is not to decide the merits of the case, but instead to test the sufficiency of the complaint. See Gibson v. City of Chi., 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). As previously noted, when reviewing a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court takes as true all factual allegations in the complaint and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Killingsworth, 507 F.3d at 618.

To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the claim first must comply with Rule 8(a) by providing " a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief" (Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)), such that the defendant is given " fair notice of what the * * * claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957)). Second, the factual allegations in the claim must be sufficient to raise the possibility of relief above the " speculative level, " assuming that all of the allegations in the complaint are true. E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). " A pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or a 'formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). However, " [s]pecific facts are not necessary; the statement need only give the defendant fair notice of what the * * * claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555) (ellipsis in original). The Court reads the complaint and assesses its plausibility as a whole. See Atkins v. City of Chi., 631 F.3d 823, 832 (7th Cir. 2011).

III. Analysis

Defendants argue that Plaintiff fails to state a claim because she does not provide sufficient allegations to support a plausible right to relief under Title VII. Defendant Local 700 also argues that Plaintiff may not bring suit against it because Plaintiff failed to file a charge against it or obtain a right-to-sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (" EEOC"), as required. For the ...


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